Thursday, October 14, 2010

Synchronicity and Etymology

The most recent experience I have had with synchronicity involves repeated exposure to the Boston Consulting Group and Harvard Business School involving a little etymology as well. Both synchronicity and etymology make me wonder about our reflective learning capacity and our meaning-making natures.

As part of my degree program in Human Resource Development, we are reading The Essentials of Strategy from the Harvard Business School Press. The introduction to the book starts off in perfect alignment with my personal learning preferences of moving from the simple to the complex, including the definition of terms and some explanation as to their usage. The introduction states that business has long made use of military language in business-talk (that must have been before the growth of sports analogies and the expanded appreciation of teamwork and collaboration). From the command and control perspective, I can see the military language being useful. But my surprise was that the use of the military term, strategy, did not take-off in business until 1971 when Kenneth Andrews wrote the book The Concept of Corporate Strategy. The use of strategy in the business context was further shaped at Harvard by Professor Michael Porter in the 1980s.

Subsequent to the ongoing development of strategy in business language, the Boston Consulting Group's founder, Bill Henderson, linked the notion of competitive advantage. Now it just so happens that my course is entitled Strategic Human Resource Development and the organization where I work recently retained the services of the Boston Consulting Group.

The other day, I got an email from a colleague that contained a link to a Boston Consulting Group report entitled Creating People Advantage 2010 which essentially is an examination of the strategic use of talent, an area of responsibility directly related to Strategic Human Resource Development. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

The value of the information exceeds my strange fascination with how the associations were laid down in my neural networks but I thought it was worth the telling. Have you experienced a synchronous learning event like this recently? If so, please comment and share.

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